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2022 February Rostrum


Moving Forward: Next Steps in the Implementation of Assembly Bills 927 (Medina, 2021), 928 (Berman, 2021), and 1111 (Berman, 2021)

ASCCC President

In the 2021 legislative cycle, multiple bills were passed that were directed at the California Community Colleges system. Of those bills, Assembly Bills 927, 928, and 1111 may have the most widespread and lasting impacts on the colleges in the system. Each bill has a timeline for implementation and the potential for both immediate and long-term effects.

AB 927 (Medina, 2021), focused on California community college baccalaureate degrees, accomplishes several things immediately. It eliminates the sunset date for the degrees that were established under the previous baccalaureate legislation, SB 850 (Block, 2014). Under Senator Block’s bill, fifteen community colleges were allowed to create pilot baccalaureate degrees that were due to sunset in 2026. The new bill, signed by the governor on October 6, 2021, allows for the introduction of up to an additional thirty baccalaureate programs per year, beginning in 2022. The degrees cannot duplicate programs currently offered in the California State University or University of California systems, so the focus will be predominately on applied baccalaureate degrees. The first applications were due on January 15, 2022, with additional application cycles due annually on August 15 and January 15. Colleges are allowed to charge an additional $84 per semester unit for upper division coursework, and the limitations on the number of programs per district have been removed.[1] The expansion of the baccalaureate program has also led to the creation of the California Community Colleges Baccalaureate Association, which is “dedicated to developing, promoting, and strengthening community college baccalaureate programs in California” and which includes representation from the Academic Senate for California Community Colleges, the Community College League of California, and many of the California community colleges and districts where a baccalaureate is already offered.[2]

AB 928 (Berman, 2021) is focused on creating transfer pathways between the California community colleges and public four-year higher education institutions. This bill, which was signed into law in October, has three major parts:

  • The creation of an Associate Degree for Transfer Intersegmental Implementation Committee, comprised of practitioners from all three public higher education systems as well as the Association of Independent California Colleges and Universities. Additionally, stakeholders from outside of the systems, including the Department of Education, educational equity and social justice organizations, workforce representatives, and others, will be included, for a total of sixteen members. Of those members, four are representatives of the California Community Colleges system: one appointed by the Chancellor’s Office, one by the Academic Senate for California Community Colleges, one by the Student Senate for California Community Colleges, and a second student appointed by the governor. The first chair of the council will be the Chancellor’s Office appointee, with all appointments to be made by March 1, 2022. However, the committee will be convened by a third-party facilitator who will be appointed by the governor’s Office of Planning and Research. Recommendations from this group are to be made to the legislature by the end of December 2023.[3]
  • The creation of a single lower division general education pathway for students intending to transfer to the UC or CSU systems that cannot exceed the current unit total for IGETC, which is 34 semester units. This pathway is to be created by the Intersegmental Committee of Academic Senates (ICAS) by the end of May, 2023. To this end, ICAS has created a special subgroup including three representatives from each of the three systems, along with representatives from the three administrative offices—the Chancellor’s Offices for the CSU and the California Community Colleges and the University of California Office of the President—and an articulation officer. In addition, student advisors from each of the three segments are invited to participate and provide input on the creation of the pathway. That subgroup begins meeting in February and hopes to have the new pathway determined by the end of the academic year. Recognizing that concern is present at colleges around the state, especially within certain disciplines that are part of some general education patterns but not others, the ASCCC has created a feedback portal to allow practitioners to weigh in, which can be found at https://asccc.org/content/submit-input-ab-928. We will continue to provide updates as progress is made on the creation of this new pattern.
  • The automatic placement onto an ADT pathway of all students who indicate a goal of transfer and for whom an ADT is offered at the college they are attending. This portion of the bill does allow students to opt out of the pathway, which requires that the students are aware that they can do so if they are seeking to transfer to an institution that does not accept the ADT, including the University of California system campuses and many private universities.

The governor’s proposed budget does include money to support the implementation of this bill, although it is below the amount estimated by the Chancellor’s Office for implementation. Monies provided for guided pathways, transfer alignment to the HBCUs, and other funds can also be directed towards the implementation of AB 928.

Finally, AB 1111 (Berman, 2021) calls for the creation of a student-facing common course numbering system to be used by California community colleges for all general education requirement courses and courses within the transfer pathways.[4] The idea of a common course numbering system is not new, having been implemented by some college districts already and having been used between local CSU and community college campuses in the past. Additionally, the idea of a common course numbering system to assist in transfer was referenced in the report Recovery with Equity: A Roadmap for Higher Education After the Pandemic(California Governor’s Council for Post-Secondary Education, 2021), and funding was included in the 2021 budget language for the establishment of a workgroup to begin the creation of this system. The workgroup, which has not yet been formed, will begin by focusing on courses within the C-ID system that already have a version of a common course number and then will move on to transfer pathway courses that are not part of the C-ID universe. While neither the UC nor the CSU systems are being asked or required to do a similar type of common course numbering, the hope is that these course numbers will align as much as possible, given the need to take into account the range of courses that potentially fit under a C-ID descriptor as well as the often messy transition from quarters to semesters or vice-versa. As the ASCCC receives more information about the progress of this process, we will provide further updates.

These three pieces of legislation will no doubt keep college practitioners as well as the ASCCC busy for the next few years. We hope that at the end of the work, the system will have greater capacity for students seeking baccalaureate degrees as well as a more streamlined process for those seeking to transfer out of the community colleges into a four-year university or college, remembering that, at the end of the day, the students are always the most important concern.


California Governor’s Council for Post-Secondary Education. (2021, February). Recovery with Equity: A Roadmap for Higher Education After the Pandemic. Retrieved from https://postsecondarycouncil.ca.gov/wp-content/uploads/sites/18/2021/03….

[1] Further details regarding AB 927 can be found at https://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/billNavClient.xhtml?bill_id=20….

[2] More information on the California Community Colleges Baccalaureate Association can be found at https://cccbac.org/.

[3] Further details regarding AB 928 can be found at https://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/billNavClient.xhtml?bill_id=20….

[4] Further details regarding AB 1111 can be found at https://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/billNavClient.xhtml?bill_id=20….

Cultivating Faculty Diversity: Support for Peer Mentors and Tutors

ASCCC Vice-President and Legislative and Advocacy Committee Chair
ASCCC North Representative
Legislative and Advocacy Committee
Legislative and Advocacy Committee
Legislative and Advocacy Committee
Legislative and Advocacy Committee
Legislative and Advocacy Committee

Faculty frequently have the opportunity to guide a student interested in pursuing a career in teaching. Indeed, many faculty members in the profession today owe their success to a helpful mentor at a community college. These informal efforts are critical components of student success and contribute to the gratification of being a community college educator.

The following are two typical stories:

Nearly twenty years ago, during office hours, a calculus student, having immigrated to the United States as a child, shared with his instructor that he might have to drop out of college due to financial issues, as he had no support from his family. During that moment, the math instructor was nearly speechless, since financial aid was far removed from her expertise. She therefore led the student across campus to the financial aid office. Ten minutes of the instructor’s time turned out to be life-changing for this promising math student. He landed a position as a tutor in the math lab and MESA center and became an in-class tutor. He stayed in college and completed his education. Today, he is a full-time mathematics professor in the California Community Colleges system.

Cynthia, a first-generation college Chicana, wanted to be a business major, her aspirations fueled by a desire to bring her family out of poverty. Midway into her first semester, Cynthia realized she actually loved stories. She grew to embrace the love for narratives about humanity and the writing experience that unfolded from making sense of those stories. Soon thereafter, Cynthia’s Chicana-identified English professor welcomed her into the composition classroom as an embedded writing consultant. Not only was Cynthia serving in the role of consultant but also as a peer mentor for students who, like her, had not seen themselves as potentially strong writers, let alone English majors. As a peer mentor and consultant, Cynthia was able to model how writing became a tool for personal and community empowerment. Seven years later and with a master’s degree in literature and writing studies, Cynthia applied for her first tenure-track position in the community college system.

Luck was present for those students: they found faculty members who were able and willing to help them. Many more students could be reached if faculty knew where to guide students or how to welcome students to explore their passions. Those most qualified to navigate student support services at the California community colleges are former students. The ideal future candidate for contract faculty, then, is today’s community college tutor or peer mentor. The community college system needs to move beyond ad hoc efforts towards purposeful programs and funding professional growth activities for students pursuing a career pathway to become a community college faculty member.

For very little expense, colleges can invest in their students to achieve long-term gains in faculty diversification and do so intentionally from an equity-minded and anti-racist framework by recognizing that institutional and systemic barriers of race and gender have skewed the makeup of the faculty workforce for far too long. This recognition can guide outreach to students aspiring to be community college educators. The importance of grow your own programs to help diversify faculty ranks was underscored by ASCCC Resolution 20.01 F20, “The Role of Student Employees in Advancing Faculty Diversification.” Professional development programs can be designed to recruit students of color and students underrepresented in particular disciplines for training as peer mentors, teaching assistants, and tutors similar to service learning toward a career pathway.

The need to diversify faculty in California’s community colleges has been recognized and formalized since at least the late 1980s with the passage of Assembly Bill 1725 (Vasconcellos, 1988). In 1990, former ASCCC President Karen Sue Grosz wrote, “The challenge of Assembly Bill 1725 lies before us” and then advised that “we should remind ourselves periodically of the intent language of the bill.” Grosz stated,

The people of California should have the opportunity to be proud of a system of community colleges which instills pride among its students and faculty, where rigor and standards are an assumed part of a shared effort to educate, where the hugely diverse needs of students are a challenge rather than a threat, where the community colleges serve as models for the new curricula and innovative teaching, where learning is what we care about most. (Grosz, 1990)

In accordance with this statement of intent, the ASCCC has long promoted faculty diversity. In 2001, the organization adopted Resolution 03.02 S01, which “Resolved, That the Academic Senate recognize that faculty diversity must be an integral part of any learning environment that increases student success; and Resolved, That the Academic Senate take a leadership role in promoting the diversification of faculty of the colleges.”

The strength of the community college system lies in recognizing the racial and ethnic diversity represented in its student body. Sixty-nine percent of California college students are from diverse ethnic and racial backgrounds. Unfortunately, the same thing cannot be said for the composition of the faculty. The Campaign for College Opportunity (2018) asserts the following regarding student demographics in the California Community Colleges system: 43% Latinx, 28% white, 13% AANHPI, 7% African American, 4% unknown, and 4% other. However, 61% of tenured system faculty are white.

The ASCCC acknowledges that the pace of faculty diversity has not kept up with growing student diversity since the adoption of its 2001 resolution. The Vision for Success Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Task Force’s 2020 Report concludes, “As the California community college student population continues to diversify, faculty diversification is not keeping pace” since from 2006 to 2017 “underrepresented minority (URM) students have grown in size from 38% to 51% while the percentage of URM tenured faculty has only increased by 2%.” The somber entailment is that “Employees that provide direct instruction do not reflect the diversity of the students who they serve” (California Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office, 2020).

More than a quarter century has passed since the passage of AB 1725 in 1988, and progress towards diverse representation in California community college faculty can still be improved. Given the demographics of the student population, a practical approach would be for faculty to look to their own students and mentor them as part of the plan to increase the diversity of faculty. In fact, the concept of grow your own programs was incorporated into the Equal Employment Opportunity Fund Multiple Method Allocation Model (LeForestier, 2021).

Currently, faculty internship programs exist for graduate students and are intentionally designed to promote diversity at several community college districts, such as Glendale Community College, Long Beach City College, the Los Angeles Community College District, and the Los Rios Community College District.[1] In its paper A Re-examination of Faculty Hiring Processes and Procedures (ASCCC 2018), the ASCCC promoted “the creation of ‘grow your own’ programs seeking to hire students who attended California Community Colleges.” As noted in that paper, peer mentors and tutors are a ready pool for recruiting students for a grow your own program. Colleges have long recognized student workers as an essential component of strategies to promote student success and equity.[2] Moreover, a necdotal accounts suggest many students employed as peer mentors and tutors are students of color who aspire to careers as community college faculty members.

Faculty ad hoc efforts to mentor the next generation of educators will continue: doing so is part of the faculty’s work expectations and a source of great joy. However, colleges, districts, and the community college system as a whole should look beyond good faith ad hoc efforts for ways to effectively address structural bias and lack of diversity among faculty. One such way is to fund professional growth activities for peer mentors and tutors, particularly for students of color and students underrepresented in particular disciplines to encourage them toward teaching careers.

The work of the Grow Your Own Collective[3] provides tangible interventions for addressing the lack of faculty of color in the California Community Colleges system. Their approach emphasizes that the work to racially and ethnically diversify the faculty ranks requires a community-based focus particularly rooted in the communities represented by the students. The system is well positioned to embrace the support of local communities in the ways colleges outreach to students, how colleges support them through the pipeline, and the opportunities created to ensure they attain their goal of becoming educators.


Academic Senate for California Community Colleges. (2018). A Re-examination of Faculty Hiring Processes and Procedures.https://asccc.org/sites/default/files/Hiring_Paper.pdf

California Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office. (2020). Vision for Success Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Task Force. https://www.cccco.edu/-/media/CCCCO-Website/Files/Communications/vision….

Campaign for College Opportunity. (2018). System Report: Dig into Key Diversity Metrics for Each California Campus System. https://collegecampaign.org/left-tool-system/.

Grosz, K. (1990, Summer). “The Challenge of Cultural Diversity in the California Community Colleges.” Forum Volume VII. Retrieved from https://asccc.org/sites/default/files/publications/Challenge_0.pdf

LeForestier, M. (2021). Allocation of the Equal Employment Opportunity Fund. California Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office Memo. https://www.cccco.edu/-/media/CCCCO-Website/Office-of-General-Counsel/A….

[1]For more information on these programs see https://www.glendale.edu/about-gcc/employment/faculty-diversity-internship-program, https://www.lbcc.edu/pod/faculty-diversity-internship-program, https://www.laccd.edu/Departments/EPIE/Pages/Project-Match.aspx, and https://employees.losrios.edu/training/professional-development/faculty….

[2] See, for example, the ASCCC papers Basic Skills as a Foundation for Student Success in California Community Colleges (2007) https://files.eric.ed.gov/fulltext/ED496117.pdf and Practices that Promote Equity in Basic Skills in California Community Colleges (2010) https://asccc.org/sites/default/files/publications/promote_equity_basicskills-spr2010_0.pdf.

[3] For more information on the Grow Your Own Collective see https://www.gyocollective.org/.

To Promote or to Prevent Opportunity? Using an Equity-Minded Lens to Dispel Myths in the Equivalency Process

ASCCC Treasurer
Equity and Diversity Action Committee
Equity and Diversity Action Committee

Equivalency processes and policies throughout the California community colleges vary widely, as they are locally determined. However, because a variety of methods of equivalency evaluation practices exist, potential candidates for faculty positions sometimes encounter barriers in navigating the system.

Evaluating local equivalency processes through an equity-minded lens addresses the why and the what colleges could do and how they could take action to ensure a diverse faculty. Establishing and communicating a clear equivalency process that is posted on the college’s website and other front-facing candidate informational pages is an opportunity to build a representative pool of applicants from diverse backgrounds. Equivalency processes should not be a barrier or an obstacle for any candidate seeking a faculty position.

What is equivalency and are colleges required to do it?

Policies regarding faculty hiring are encompassed within academic and professional matters, and academic senates have the purview of contributing to the development of the policies and standards determining qualifications for faculty applicants. California Education Code §87359 (b) requires that “[t]he process, as well as criteria, and standards by which the governing board reaches its determination regarding faculty members shall be developed and agreed upon jointly by representatives of the governing board and the academic senate, and approved by the governing board.” The same Education Code section states that every district must have an equivalency process to meet the minimum qualifications for hiring in a discipline. Colleges should have a clear and available equivalency process that identifies a way an applicant for faculty employment is at least equivalent to the stated discipline requirements noted in the Minimum Qualifications for Faculty and Administrators in California Community Colleges, also known as the “Disciplines List. (California Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office, 2020).

Equivalency to the minimum qualifications for a discipline can be difficult to determine, as neither Education Code nor Title 5 regulations provide additional guidelines regarding what Education Code §87359 calls “at least equivalent.” However, each district’s governing board, acting on the advice of its academic senate, must establish its own standard for equivalency, ensuring that the standard is not less than the qualifications specified in the Disciplines List (Academic Senate for California Community Colleges, 2020, p.1).

Establishing equivalency through coursework may seem relatively simple, but faculty must use concrete evidence such as transcripts that can be compared to concrete criteria for a degree (Academic Senate for California Community Colleges, 2020, p.1-2). Ensuring that the coursework of a faculty applicant is equal to the coursework required for a master’s degree in a given discipline is vital for those disciplines that require a master’s degree, so the documentation submitted by an applicant should be examined with fidelity to the discipline. Academic senates should be thoughtful about inclusion of discipline faculty in the equivalency determination process. When developing a new area or program, colleges might ask neighboring institutions with discipline experts to assist in reviewing documentation for equivalency.

Equity-minded processes begin with a thoughtful pre-hiring process that ensures the creation of a clear job announcement providing information on the local equivalency process. Such a practice has the potential to welcome a broad range of highly qualified candidates.

However, challenges and often myths or misinformation exist regarding equivalency. For this reason, some clarification and demystification may be helpful:

In recent years, the California community colleges have made some movement in diversifying the faculty; however, significant and transformative change still must happen. The system has traditionally perpetuated sameness and the status quo in the professoriate. As written in the ASCCC position paper Equivalence to the Minimum Qualifications, “Equivalency is a means of broadening applicant pools, which in turn, can promote diversity by providing the opportunity for additional qualified applicants to be considered for faculty positions. Equivalency is an important aspect of equity-minded practices relating to faculty diversification, and as such, it is an important component of the hiring process” (Academic Senate for California Community Colleges, 2020, p.1). Since colleges hire tenure-track faculty who may be serving students for two or three decades, ensuring a diverse pool is valuable, even if doing so means reading a few more applications.

Myth 2: Degrees should have the same exact names to meet equivalency.

The Disciplines List states, "Under each of the disciplines . . . the phrase ‘OR the equivalent’ refers to the possibility of hiring faculty who do not possess the exact [emphasis added] degrees listed, under a local process developed and agreed upon by representatives of the governing board and the Academic Senate." (California Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office, 2020, p. 21) This passage refers to Education Code §87359, which calls for a local process to provide an opportunity for an applicant to show equivalency to a degree. Applicants should have the opportunity to document and show evidence of degrees aligning with minimum qualifications listed in the Disciplines List.

In addition, the system of meeting minimum qualifications with exact degree names can be cumbersome and is a tremendous challenge for applicants who have earned foreign degrees. For qualified applicants with foreign degrees, the process involves submitting detailed documentation from a professional evaluation agency that shows the U.S. equivalence of the degree. The process of getting an evaluation often takes several months, especially since California Education Code calls for a U.S. accredited institution[1].

Myth 3: Getting equivalency at one district means you get it at another.

The processes for making equivalency determinations may differ for each district. No single standard process exists that every district must follow; however, the ASCCC paper Equivalence to the Minimum Qualifications (Academic Senate for California Community Colleges, 2020) notes model processes that may help districts and colleges design with equity mindedness. For multi-college districts, decisions may be based on district-wide accepted procedures and standards of evidence but could also vary by individual college.

Myth 4: Equivalency can be granted to teach one course in the discipline.

Some disciplines at colleges faced with a scarcity of faculty have attempted the single course equivalency solution. Although reasons for desiring to circumvent the regulations may stem from understandable difficulties, such problems are no excuse for hiring someone who is not qualified to teach in the discipline. Individuals hired as faculty members, both full-time and part-time, are expected to have the expertise to teach the range of courses in the disciplines for which they were hired.

Education Code §87359 (a) states, “No one may be hired to serve as a community college faculty . . . unless the governing board determines that he or she possesses qualifications that are at least equivalent to the minimum qualifications specified.” Minimum qualifications are determined for disciplines, not for courses or subject areas within disciplines. Legal Opinion L 03- 28 (R. Black, 2004) supports the position that “a district is not authorized to establish a single course equivalency as a substitute for meeting minimum qualifications in a discipline” (Academic Senate for California Community Colleges, 2020, p.3).

Myth 5: Deans and human resource officers have purview over the equivalency process.

Local processes differ by college, but the faculty have purview over the creation of the equivalency process. Administration and human resource office personnel may assist in the process and maintain records of the outcomes and documentation of equivalency requests but do not have the final determination of granting equivalency. An effective practice could be creating an equivalency committee that is a subcommittee or standing committee of the academic senate to ensure that the process is consistent, fair, and determined with input from discipline faculty.


An equitable equivalency process is needed to maintain high standards of teaching at California community colleges, and equity-minded practices need to include providing equitable opportunities for highly qualified diverse faculty. Local academic senates can make the process clearer and more transparent in order to broaden pools of applicants. Such practice is more needed today than ever when professionals wear many hats and are often cross trained in different fields.

Dispelling myths around the equivalency process will encourage applicants from a range of diverse backgrounds to apply for jobs at community colleges, increasing representation of faculty from diverse groups. Multiple research studies state that when students see themselves represented in the faculty who teach them, they are motivated and encouraged to achieve their educational goals. Therefore, equivalency needs to be viewed as an opportunity rather than a gatekeeper in hiring faculty.


Academic Senate for California Community Colleges. (2020). Equivalence to the Minimum Qualifications. https://asccc.org/sites/default/files/EquivalencyF20.pdf.

California Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office. (2020). Minimum Qualifications for Faculty and Administrators in California Community Colleges. https://www.cccco.edu/-/media/CCCCO-Website/About-Us/Divisions/Educational-Services-and-Support/Academic-Affairs/What-we-do/Curriculum-and-Instruction-Unit/Minimum-Qualifications/cccco-2021-report-min-qualifications-a11y.pdf?la=en&hash=AB424D9D2AEDEEBE2A54757BF58ABFC2B852A2F9.

[1]“’Accredited institution’ shall mean a postsecondary institution accredited by an accreditation agency recognized by either the U.S. Department of Education or the Council on Postsecondary Accreditation. It shall not mean an institution ‘approved’ by the California Department of Education or by the California Council for Private Postsecondary and Vocational Education” (California Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office, 2020, p. 76).

The Strength of Inclusivity: Changing Our Language and Campus Culture

ASCCC Treasurer
Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, and Anti-Racism Officer, Butte College
Foothill College student and chair, Stanford Hospital Patient and Families Advisory Council on Disabilities

As colleges engage in antiracist, equity-minded, inclusive practices, they must be thoughtful and intentional about using language to avoid labeling, discrimination, and archaic terms that marginalize and disenfranchise communities. Colleges should be honoring the voices of their diverse student and employee populations by shifting to anti-discriminatory language in the same way they seek to be antiracist. In serving students, institutions should consider who may not be using resources of support, perhaps because of outdated language and practices that are not welcoming and often create barriers to student success. Everyone should strive for equity and creating an environment that cultivates a culture that is anti-ableist. Students do not want to feel welcomed; they want to actually be welcomed. They should not have to fight for every accommodation and find ways around every barrier; instead, they should not be forced to face barriers at all.

This culture shift begins with acknowledging historical harm: For decades, community colleges have used the term “disabled students.” The term is written into regulation and is used in the name of many college centers and programs. Colleges might wish to rethink and, with a spirit of inquiry, consider the history and the evolution of the language.

In the 1960s, with the birth of the modern disability rights movement that followed the civil rights movement, advocates started to bring about change to policy in the United States (Disability Rights, 2020).A community of people fighting for more independence and self-determination rejected the term “handicapped” in favor of “disabled” (Cluley, 2018). This change may seem counterintuitive, since, at first glance, handicapped looks like the more enlightened choice; however, it replaced other terms that had accumulated centuries’ worth of terrible connotations.

Today, disabled might appear to be one of those terrible terms. Its etymological form means lacking in “power, strength, or ability” (Disability, 2022), which is not a very liberating sentiment, and it has a history of being used to describe people with disabilities going back 200 years before handicapped became widely used. However, for activists looking for a way to refer to new campaigns and organizations, disability seemed the better choice, and disabled at that time was attractive for its rather more clinical connotation, meaning that it lacked euphemism or a patronizing attitude, concerns that were also problematic for terms like “special” or “differently-abled.” The main concern with handicapped was simply that it had not been chosen by the people it was supposed to describe. As journalist and disability scholar Jack A. Nelson wrote, though handicapped appeared to be “in keeping with the disability rights movement’s analysis of the situation—that the individual is okay but society has put him or her at a disadvantage—the term was nonetheless rejected when disabled people began wresting the power of the programs that controlled their lives from social workers and began to run their own programs…if for no other reason that it was a term imposed on them by agencies” (Okrent, 2015). By the time the Americans with Disabilities Act was passed in 1990, the term handicapped had already become archaic and awkward. Activists who had fought for the act and decided for themselves what language to use ushered the term off the stage as the century drew to a close.

As community colleges work to be more inclusive, they must embrace everyone’s full humanity and be open to evolving as educators. The California Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office has recently adjusted from DEI (diversity, equity, and inclusion) to a newly adopted acronym, DEIA, meaning diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility. In discussing any acronym or any shift in language, the terms must be clearly defined so as not to be a fad or checklist or surface level but rather a clear and deep understanding of community, culture, and inclusivity. Depending upon the context, accessibility is a better term, though people-first language is the most widely accepted language for referring to persons with disabilities. It is also the language used in the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. People-first language emphasizes the person, not the disability, by placing a reference to the person or group before the reference to the disability. For example, one can use expressions such as “children with albinism,” “students with dyslexia,” “women with intellectual disabilities” and, of course, “persons with disabilities” (United Nations, 2019).

Research has shown that using terms like disabled and disabilities creates a barrier for many students using or seeking to use services on college campuses. For example, Student Accessibility Director Sandra Harrison posited, “When our name was DSO we found that some students didn’t want to register or be affiliated with us because they didn’t want to have that term describe them . . . I think the former name could lend itself to [misunderstanding] that the person with the disability is the issue . . . it’s the university’s responsibility to be accessible . . . We had already been moving toward more of a social model as opposed to an only medical model, using accessibility over disability” (Telch, 2017). In an ableist society, people often think of disability in a deficit mindset, but in an inclusive social model, one should be thinking of disability in a neutral way and in a mindset that honors and embraces the beauty of diversity and inclusivity.

Recommendations and Models of Inclusion

People often want to hold on to the historical credence of terms without realizing those terms are steeped in colonized, racialized, and discriminatory practices. Acknowledging the intersections of identity fully recognizes the value of the whole human being and the barriers to access created by inequitable structures and factors (Cogburn, 2019).

As colleges assess their processes and language, they need to make changes to support accessibility and inclusion by doing the following:

  • Ensure that all programs, services, and processes are current and inclusive. Colleges that have outdated language should challenge those terms in every document and policy.
  • Bring students to the table and amplify their voices to inform decisions to affect change.
  • Engage in rebranding spaces, documents, and policies, and make the investment in the resources that such work may require. Valuing such rebranding shows the intent and priority of the college.
  • Consider supporting and using a webpage or Canvas page to regularly update language. Example websites can be found here:https://sites.google.com/brandeis.edu/parcsuggestedlanguagelist/categories/cultural-appropriative-language?authuser=0; https://adata.org/factsheet/ADANN-writing.
  • Use the position and the power of the local academic senate to call for intentionality and accountability in making changes.

All institutions should be more inclusive, meaningful, and intentional in progressing and evolving language and culture. More inclusive language creates a solid foundation for the structural support that is needed for change, but it also offers an opportunity to support and engage in advocacy at statewide levels and with higher education partnerships to affect change and transformation to support students who transfer (Montez et al., 2017). Faculty and colleges throughout the state should call for systemic change and elimination of barriers across systems and, most importantly, ask their students and their communities what they need.


Cluley, V. (2018). From “Learning disability to intellectual disability”—Perceptions of the increasing use of the term “intellectual disability” in learning disability policy, research and practice. British Journal of Learning Disabilities, 46(1), 24–32.https://doi-org.riohondo.idm.oclc.org/10.1111/bld.12209.

Cogburn, Courtney D. (2019). “Culture, Race, and Health: Implications for racial inequities and population health.” The Milbank Quarterly 97, no. 3: 736–61. http://www.jstor.org/stable/45218864.

Disability. (2022). Online Etymological Dictionary. Douglas Harper. https://www.etymonline.com/word/disability#:~:text=disability%20(n.),Related%3A%20Disabilities.

Disability Rights. (2018). Gale Opposing Viewpoints Online Collection. Gale. https://link.gale.com/apps/doc/HPGYQI733483980/OVIC?u=cclc_rio&sid=bookmark-OVIC&xid=8102ec75.

Montez, J.K, Zajacova, A, & Hayward, M.D. (2017): “Disparities in disability by educational attainment across US states.” American Journal of Public Health. vol. 107,7 1101-1108. doi:10.2105/AJPH.2017.303768.

Okrent, A. (2015). Why did “disabled” replace “handicapped” as the preferred term? Mental Floss.https://www.mentalfloss.com/article/69361/why-did-disabled-replace-handicapped-preferred-term.

Telch, S. (2017). DSO changes name to office of student accessibility. Graphic. Pepperdine University. https://pepperdine-graphic.com/dso-changes-name-to-office-of-student-accessibility/.

United Nations. (2019). Disability inclusive language guidelines.https://www.ungeneva.org/sites/default/files/2021-01/Disability-Inclusive-Language-Guidelines.pdf.

Accessibility: The Bridge Between Success and Disability

Standards and Practices Committee

North Carolina State University’s Center for Universal Design—a global movement of inclusive design practice through a working group of architects, product designers, engineers, and environmental design researchers—collaborated to identify seven components of the Principles of Universal Design (Connell et al.,1997):

  • Equitable - the design is equally useful to people with diverse abilities.
  • Flexible - the design supports differing abilities.
  • Simple - the design is intuitive.
  • Perceptible - the design offers material in multiple modalities.
  • Tolerance for error - the design minimizes possibilities for predictable errors.
  • Effortless - the design minimizes repetitive actions.
  • Spacious - the design includes appropriate room for users.

Researchers adapted these principles of universal design from architecture into education, first with the goal of providing better educational experiences to students with disabilities, then to expand those experiences through flexible methods and materials, and then to curriculum, which led to the development of a universal design for learning (UDL) to benefit students.

UDL Implementation

In 1984, the Center for Applied Special Technology (CAST) was created with the goal of providing better educational experiences for students with disabilities through the development of assistive technology such as screen readers, voice recognition programs, and much more. After extensive research into how humans learn, CAST shifted focus onto improving the curriculum by developing scientifically-based flexible methods and materials rather than just addressing individual students’ needs. This focus led to the development of the universal design for learning principals (CAST, 2018) to optimize teaching and learning that, by developing accessible and engaging resources for the least able, will benefit all others.

CAST has also helped define access standards for the World Wide Web and influenced the inclusion of UDL in legislation such as the Higher Education Opportunity Act, which provides for its implementation in post-secondary settings and teacher preparation programs (U.S. Department of Education, 2008). By designing courses with the UDL guidelines in mind, faculty can ensure that all students benefit from the extra instructions and guidance that are provided to those with disabilities. UDL provides multiple means of engagement, representation, and action and expression to help students access information, build skills, and internalize comprehension and develop knowledge.

The goal of UDL is to develop expert learners who are purposeful and motivated, resourceful and knowledgeable, and strategic and goal-directed. UDL encompasses accessibility in the guidelines for representation, which renders accessibility as the learning experience provided to students rather than simply creating accessible documents and support captioning.

Web Content Accessibility

In addition to making documents and materials accessible to students, resources such as websites, eBooks, and applications must all be verified for accessibility compliance.

The Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 2.0 (WCAG 2.0) prescribe the design of web-based materials to be technically accessible as well as usable (World Wide Web Consortium, 2008). In cooperation with organizations and individuals throughout the world, WCAG 2.0 documents are developed with the goal of providing a standard for web content accessibility to meet the needs of all users.

The WCAG 2.0 guides developers on how web content should be made accessible for people with disabilities. These guidelines can be summed up in an acronym, POUR:

  • Perceivable to visually impaired and sighted individuals.
  • Operable by disabled, less capable, and capable individuals.
  • Understandable within a wide range of learning abilities.
  • Robust to maximize compatibility to assistive technologies

Resistance to Accessibility

Great resistance sometimes exists to preparing or adjusting courses to meet accessibility requirements. Instructors often fail to imagine the full spectrum of students who may need to use the materials and benefit from a well-designed course that meets accessibility thresholds. Faculty must think about students who may be left out of full participation or locked out of full access to course materials.

Three types of student impairments should be a focus of attention: vision, hearing, and mobility. If the materials are visual, faculty should also make them audible. If the materials are audible, faculty should also make them visual. Text, images, videos, lectures, and meetings must be in a format that works well with assistive technology. As for mobility, faculty must go beyond the obvious issues of students using assistive equipment such as wheelchairs or crutches. Students with arthritis, carpal tunnel, and other fine-motor control limitations benefit from courses designed to mitigate the demands of a keyboard and mouse. As Elise Roy (n.d.), a disability rights lawyer and design thinker, says, "When we design for disability first, we often stumble upon solutions that are better than those when we design for the norm."

If designing courses for the learning experience of students who are the least privileged is not enough to overcome resistance to accessibility, this simple final argument should: it is the law.

Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 prohibits discrimination based on disability and applies to federal agencies, public universities, federal contractors, and any other institution or activity receiving federal funds. Section 508 of the same act provides the underlying mandate for designing courses that are accessible to students with visual, auditory, and physical impairments, as well as students with information processing differences (U.S. Department of Education, 2015).

The Education for Handicapped Children Act of 1975, now called The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, guarantees a free, appropriate education for all children with disabilities (U.S. Department of Education, n.d.). This act influences educational programs as well as the facilities in which they are conducted.

The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 awakened widespread public awareness of the civil rights of people with disabilities. Discrimination in employment, access to places of public accommodation, services, programs, public transportation, and telecommunications is prohibited by this law (U.S. Access Board, n.d.).

The Telecommunications Act of 1996 mandates that telecommunications services and equipment and customer premises equipment be "designed, developed, and fabricated to be accessible to and usable by individuals with disabilities, if readily achievable" (Federal Communications Commission, 2013). It applies to all types of telecommunications devices and services.

To provide guidance to faculty and administrators, the California Community Colleges Distance Education Accessibility Guidelines Task Force compiled the Distance Education Accessibility Guidelines for Students with Disabilities (Distance Education Accessibility Guidelines Task Force, 2011).

Mitigating Accessibility Issues

Faculty need not wait for a DSPS notice upon a student’s request for accommodation: students are not required to disclose a disability to have full access to materials and resources. Providing accessible courses and materials is under the control and responsibility of instructors. Faculty can take the following steps to make a course fully accessible:

  • Add an accessibility section to the syllabus or instructions for the course.
  • Change all documents to “Pages” in Canvas. If doing so is not possible, run accessibility checks on all doc, pdf, xls, documents, and pp presentations, including those from shareable apps such as Google.
  • Run the accessibility checkers PopeTech or Ally in Canvas on pages, assignments, announcements, and other materials.
  • Make videos accessible with captions or other methods. If the material is not pedagogically necessary, consider removing it.
  • Run the “Validate Links in Content” found in “Settings” in Canvas. Visit each link to verify that the website is accessible.

Resources Inventory

So that all necessary steps are taken to make courses accessible, faculty can prepare a list to keep track of all items:

  • List all resources in a module, such as activities, assignments, videos, and documents.
  • Indicate the resource type, such as page, pdf, ppp, doc, video, or website.
  • Include the location or URL of the resource.
  • Write the steps to make materials accessible.
  • Indicate the completion date.

The California Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office Accessibility Center provides resources for instructors on their quest to accessibility compliance, such as self-paced and essentials micro-courses in addition to links to Canvas and Microsoft courses. It also has specific accessibility courses for the areas of science, technology, engineering, and math. The Accessibility Center can be accessed at https://cccaccessibility.org/training/self-paced-accessibility-courses. Faculty may also contact their college’s disability or distance education offices.

Course Design Review

Bringing an online course into compliance with accessibility requirements will necessitate that faculty bring the entire content into alignment with the California Virtual Campus Rubric. Doing so may increase students’ engagement and stimulate enrollment, and faculty may earn flex credit. Interested faculty should check with their local Peer Online Course Review team to participate in a Course Design Academy. [1]

Benefits from a course design review include the following:

  • Confidential feedback and course design recommendations from fellow online faculty.
  • Support from an instructional designer to assist in applying feedback and getting the most from the tools and features in Canvas.
  • Hands-on assistance, as needed, from accessibility specialists to make a course fully 508 compliant.
  • A quality reviewed badge for the course that will help it rise to the top of the student search at CVC.edu.

Teaching is a dynamic field that is constantly changing and evolving. To become more effective educators, faculty should keep up with new rules and resources that aim to support their students. Accessibility is indeed the bridge that improves the chances for all students, disabled or not, to achieve success.  

[1] The Course Design Academy is a free professional development program for faculty teaching at California community colleges. More information is available at https://onlinenetworkofeducators.org/course-design-academy/participate/.

Increasing Student Enrollment and Reducing Student Unit Accumulation: A Community College Paradox

ASCCC Vice President
Faculty Association of California Community Colleges President

In January 2022, faculty at one California community college received the following communication:

You may be aware of our lagging enrollments. Like community colleges across the state and country, our enrollments are down significantly.  Compared to last spring, we’re down approximately 10%, and last spring we had fallen 10% from Spring of 2020—a loss of approximately 2,200 students from Spring 2021 to Spring 2022.

Faculty throughout the California Community Colleges system are receiving similar notifications, which are not unique to 2022. Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, enrollments across the state had been declining. From 2010-2011 to 2020-2021, the system saw a reduction of 217,005 annual full-time equivalent students (FTES) --  1,279,577 to 1,062,572—which is nearly a 17% decline in annual FTES over the ten-year time span.

CCCCO Datamart 1/12/2022

Total head count and credit FTES have declined since 2016-17, and that decline has been accelerated following the COVID-19 pandemic.

CCCCO Datamart 1/16/22

Trends have shown that during a recession, when unemployment is high, enrollment increases, and during a strong economy, when unemployment is low, enrollment declines. However, a pandemic does not instigate a typical recession, and the economy may not only impact enrollment. Nationally, all sectors of college enrollments are down; however, the community colleges are most affected. Across the country, the typical college-age student population is declining. The total cost of college is prohibitive for many, even those who receive the college promise. The pandemic has driven up wages, and many students have chosen to work more.

From ​​National Student Clearinghouse Research Center https://nscresearchcenter.org/current-term-enrollment-estimates/

As colleges are working to increase enrollment, or at a minimum slow the decline in enrollment, they should be aware that some efforts intended to improve educational opportunities for students may also be leading to enrollment decline. California’s community colleges and policy makers have goals to increase student enrollment and at the same time reduce student unit accumulation. Colleges are not funded on actual student head-count; a large majority of California community college funding is based on FTES, which are based on student contact hours, which are based on the courses that students take.

Over the past decade, California has been subjected to numerous legislative mandates aimed at innovation to streamline and simplify the pathways for students to earn associate degrees, certificates, and transfer to four-year institutions. The initiatives frequently include a focus on reducing the number of excess units or courses taken.

In general, an associate degree is not required for transfer, and many students still transfer to the California State University (CSU) or University of California (UC) systems without earning an associate degree.[1] Senate Bill 1440 (Padilla, 2010), which led to the creation of the associate degree for transfer (ADT), guaranteed transfer to the CSU system for students that earned an ADT. While the minimum number of semester units required to earn any associate degree in the California Community Colleges system is 60, Padilla’s legislation required that an ADT could be earned by completing no more than 60 semester units. In the following years, SB 1456 (Lowenthal, 2012) and SB 440 (Padilla, 2013) strengthened the mandate of the ADTs. In 2014, Assembly Bill 1451 (Holden) on dual enrollment encouraged partnership agreements between high schools and community colleges to assist high school students in completing courses that fulfilled high school and college credit simultaneously.

The California Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office took such initiatives further in 2017 with its focus on transfer through the Vision for Success,[2] setting ambitious goals of increasing the number of associate degree awards, increasing transfer, and decreasing unit accumulation. The Vision for Success helped drive additional legislative mandates, including AB 705 (Irwin, 2017), which would significantly reduce remedial course offerings. College districts were strongly encouraged to place all students directly into transfer-level English and mathematics and to eliminate reading programs. In that same year, the guided pathways framework was introduced, designed to streamline a student's pathway to completion, thus reducing excess unit accumulation. The California Community Colleges funding model also changed in 2018 with the Student Centered Funding Formula, minimizing the funding for enrollment and maximizing monetary awards for transfer, degree attainment, and completion of transfer-level mathematics and English within the student’s first academic year.

These initiatives focused on getting students through transfer-level English and mathematics and reducing credit basic skills or remedial education. Fall-to-fall FTES for credit courses has, for the most part, steadily declined, nearly 14% from Fall 2011 (511,874 FTES) to Fall 2020 (440,937 FTES). In particular, enrollments in English and mathematics have declined, about 9% and 20% respectively. However, a significant increase in enrollments took place during the middle years of that period, resulting in a reduction of approximately 18% and 29%, respectively, from the highest enrollment to the lowest during those years. Reading has mostly been eliminated, and English as a second language has been reduced by nearly 68%. The decrease in English and mathematics FTES is about 22% of the overall loss of FTES in the community college system.

CCCCO Datamart 1/12/2022

The most recent legislation is AB 928 (Berman, 2021), the Student Transfer Achievement Reform Act, signed by the governor in October 2021. This law will effectively reduce the number of units students are required to take for their associate degree for transfer and require that colleges place students on an ADT pathway if an ADT has been established in their stated major and they have stated a goal of transfer.[3] One major component of the legislation is the creation of a single general education pathway for transfer to both the CSU and UC systems, limiting the total units of that pathway to 34 semester units, which reduces the current CSU requirement by five semester units.

While the provisions of AB 928 may reduce the number of units accumulated by associate degree earners to 79 from 84, meeting one of the goals from the Vision for Success, the potential impact on FTES systemwide should be noted. For example, given that the cohort of first-time associate degree earners in 2019-2020 numbered 118,094, a decrease of five required semester units per student would be an estimated system loss of 4,921 FTES annually for four years, assuming students earn degrees in four years. The total loss would be 19,682 FTES over four years for one cohort. On the upside, ADTs in STEM majors may have some flexibility, permitting up to six additional semester units due to major preparation requirements, although the general education units would not be impacted.


While the authors, sponsors, and supporters of these initiatives may have the students’ best interest as their primary goal, the initiatives do reduce enrollment. Such legislative mandates make increasing enrollment even more complex, yet enrollment is the primary basis for college funding. Thus, an unintentional paradox has been embedded into the goals of the California Community Colleges system.

In light of this situation, local academic senates should consider the following:

  • Explore, understand, and share the impacts of the competing goals when evaluating data for program review, including increased enrollment and reduced student unit accumulation.
  • Applaud the successes of new policy and address challenges early on.
  • Appoint a local senate legislative liaison [4] and regularly discuss upcoming legislation [5] and its effects at local academic senate meetings. Share pros and cons with other college constituencies including the college president, district chancellor, and board of trustees.
  • Refocus conversations to advocate for funding based on resources needed for student success.
  • Meet with legislators and ensure that system practitioners are providing valuable feedback on proposed legislation.
  • Explore and discuss the pros and cons of proposed legislation and the possible unintended consequences.

[1] The CSU Student Enrollment Dashboard may be found at https://tableau.calstate.edu/views/FirstTimeFreshmanandCollegeTransfers/SummaryView?iframeSizedToWindow=true&%3Aembed=y&%3Arender=true&%3AshowAppBanner=false&%3Adisplay_count=no&%3AshowVizHome=no

The UC Transfer fall admissions summary may be found at https://www.universityofcalifornia.edu/infocenter/transfer-admissions-summary

[2] The text of the California Community Colleges Vision for Success can be found at https://www.cccco.edu/About-Us/Vision-for-Success/vision-goals

[3] Students may opt out of the ADT under certain conditions.

[4] Information on legislative liaison positions is available at https://asccc.org/legislative-liaison.

[5] ASCCC legislative updates are available at https://asccc.org/legislative-updates

Evaluating Language Proficiency for IGETC and UC Transfer

Educational Policies Committee
ASCCC Secretary

At its Fall 2017 plenary, the Academic Senate for California Community Colleges approved Resolution 7.03, [1] which highlighted the unique situation of trying to certify and accept a high school language course from a non-regionally accredited home school for the Intersegmental General Education Transfer Curriculum (IGETC). As the resolution notes, a specific community college was “ordered by a superior court judge to certify and accept a high school language course from an unaccredited home school for Intersegmental General Education Transfer Curriculum (IGETC) purposes.”

As open access institutions, community colleges have a diversity of students with myriad educational interests and prior educational experiences. While Resolution 7.03 F17 addresses a unique situation in regard to students with homeschooling, many other students with language abilities other than English do not have traditionally accepted documentation.

The University of California (UC) states the following on its admissions website regarding homeschooling:

If your home schooling curriculum is not provided by a U.S. regionally accredited school (or approved by the State Board of Education) and you will not receive an official transcript and high school diploma from a U.S. regionally accredited school…you may still be considered for admission by exception. (University of California Admissions, n.d.)

The process of admission by exception is specifically for students applying as freshmen. In the case that a student attends a California community college, that student has the opportunity to complete IGETC to meet general education transfer requirements. According to the UC, “IGETC is a series of courses that prospective transfer students attending California community colleges may complete to satisfy the lower-division breadth/general education requirements” (University of California Counselors, n.d.). Counseling faculty, articulation officers, and evaluators are familiar with IGETC as an excellent option for UC bound students.

One of the IGETC area requirements, which is highlighted by Resolution 7.03 F17, is Area 6: Language Other than English. Both the UC website (University of California Counselors, n.d.) and the latest IGETC Standards (Intersegmental Committee of Academic Senates, 2021) provide students and college personnel with a variety of options to meet Area 6. Ideally, a student could meet proficiency in a language other than English by having completed two years of high school coursework in one language other than English with a grade of C or better. In the case outlined in the resolution, where the coursework from a non-regionally accredited homeschool would not be acceptable, several other options are available.

One solution that could mitigate such a situation is the following option:

If an achievement test is not available, a faculty member associated with a United States regionally accredited institution of higher education can verify a student’s competency. The institution must provide a document on college letterhead asserting that the student has mastered proficiency in the language equivalent to two years/second level of high school instruction. (Intersegmental Committee of Academic Senates, 2021, p. 24)

Some colleges have established processes to address this type of situation. For example, they have created a form on school letterhead that resides in the counseling department. The counselors, in assessing students’ needs, facilitate the connection of the student with a qualified faculty member to certify the student’s competency. The signed form is then returned to the Admissions Office for record keeping and eventual use for IGETC certification of Area 6.

If a college does not have a process in place to certify language proficiency for Area 6, whether involving homeschooling or not, a local taskforce might be created to review the IGETC Standards and establish a streamlined process. The composition of this taskforce may include counseling faculty, articulation officers, transfer directors, admissions staff, and language faculty. Also, given that some languages may not be represented at every college, the college should identify faculty—including those of native heritage—at the institution or at nearby institutions of higher education that can serve to certify language proficiency. Lastly, the form should define what is considered proficiency.

While the college involved in the legal case mentioned in Resolution 7.03 F17 did have local options established for certifying language proficiency for IGETC Standards, including arrangements for credit by exam with a nearby college, a court ruling took over decision making and the college was not given time to defend its processes or decisions. Even though the circumstances of the legal case may seem unique, the resulting resolution serves as an important reminder to review or establish local processes for certification of language proficiency.


Intersegmental Committee of Academic Senates. (2021). Standards, Policies & Procedures for Intersegmental General Education Transfer Curriculum Version 2.2. https://icas-ca.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/06/FINAL_IGETC_STANDARDS-2.2_1June2021.pdf.

University of California Counselors. (n.d.). General education & IGETC. University of California. https://admission.universityofcalifornia.edu/counselors/transfer/advisi….

University of California Admissions. (n.d.). Home-schooled Students. University of California. https://admission.universityofcalifornia.edu/admission-requirements/fre….

[1] The text of Resolution 7.03 F17 can be found at https://asccc.org/resolutions/evaluation-and-certification-coursework-home-schools.

Implications and Considerations for Cross Listing Courses

ASCCC Curriculum Committee Chair
ASCCC Treasurer
ASCCC Curriculum Committee
ASCCC Curriculum Committee
ASCCC Curriculum Committee
ASCCC Curriculum Committee
ASCCC Curriculum Committee

The history of cross-listing spans several decades in post-secondary institutions. Educators and curriculum practitioners have historically used cross-listing to streamline courses with multiple subject appeal to help satisfy students' course completion and degree attainment or to allow faculty in multiple disciplines to teach the same course. In this context, faculty have used cross-listing to develop shared ownership of a particular course and to optimize students’ paths to completion. Recent guidance from the California State University system for General Education Area F, Ethnic Studies has generated renewed discussion about this practice at the community colleges. As colleges discuss cross-listing, they should do so primarily with the needs of their students in mind and develop clear and consistent policies for when and how the practice can be used.

What is Cross-Listing?

Although cross-listing or cross-referencing courses has been a long-standing practice at many colleges, very little formal guidance is available to colleges, and the practice is not always well understood. Most of the guidance and discussion about this practice at the California community colleges comes from transfer partners and defines the practice as identical course outlines of record (CORs) submitted in different disciplines. For example, University of California course submission criteria require only one COR be offered “for courses that are ‘cross-listed’ or ‘cross-referenced’ (e.g., Psych. 10 is the same as Soc. 10)” and current C-ID submission requirements refer to cross-listed courses as “same-as” and state that a cross-listed COR should be reviewed only once. Local practice for how these identical CORs are generated and tracked may also depend on the capabilities of the local curriculum management or student information system. Still, the standard definition of this practice requires that the CORs for each cross-listed course be identical except for the assigned subject code—e.g., SOC 10 and PSYCH 10—and the Chancellor’s Office course control number.

Cross-listing is distinct from the articulation practice of course equivalency, which refers to different courses that meet the same requirement. For example, a college might have statistics courses in multiple subjects, such as a business or social science statistics course, with distinct and discipline-specific content, all of which are equivalent in that each course meets the same math requirement. These course outlines would be equivalent—all meeting the same C-ID descriptor for statistics—but would not be considered cross-listed because the outlines are distinct. Though all cross-listed courses are by definition equivalent, not all equivalent courses are cross-listed.

For colleges with a separate practice of discipline assignment for minimum qualifications, assigning a course to more than one discipline can eliminate the need to cross-list for reasons related to faculty assignment. A course that can be appropriately taught by more than one discipline can be assigned a single subject code on the COR and in the catalog but still include multiple teaching disciplines for the purpose of minimum qualifications. Teaching a course that is cross-listed with another discipline does not give a faculty member equivalency in the discipline for which the faculty member does not meet minimum qualifications. For example, if a Film as Literature course can be appropriately taught by faculty with qualifications in English or film studies, this possibility can be specified in the COR under a separate discipline assignment category without the need to list the course in both subject codes. If an English faculty member taught Film as Literature, that person would not be eligible to teach film studies classes that are not cross-listed with English.

Two common curriculum practices are used to link courses, but only one is cross-listing. Those two practices are as follows:

  1. Cross-listing: A Film as Literature course has two identical course outlines, FILM 200 and ENGL 200.
    • Except for subject area and the Chancellor’s Office course control number, these CORs should be identical.
    • Both outlines should include both disciplines, but an instructor only needs to meet minimum qualifications in one of the areas to teach the course. For example, teaching disciplines should be listed on both CORs as “English or film studies.”
    • Students cannot take both courses for credit since the content is the same.
  2. Discipline Assignment: A Film as Literature course has one course outline, FILM 200, with an identified teaching discipline assignment of “film studies or English.”
    • There is one course outline, FILM 200.
    • This course outline includes a discipline assignment of “film studies or English,” and an instructor needs to meet minimum qualifications in one of these areas to teach the course.

Each of these techniques can meet different needs for students, and each of them may have drawbacks and complications. As with any curriculum decision, faculty should make the impact of cross-listing on students the primary consideration.

Implications for Ethnic Studies

With the recent creation of ethnic studies graduation and CSU Area F requirements, many colleges without ethnic studies departments are considering cross-listing as a solution to meeting students’ needs. Ethnic studies, as defined by Assembly Bill 1460, is an interdisciplinary field of critical race studies that focuses on four historically aggrieved racialized groups in the United States: African Americans, Native Americans, Latinas/os, and Asian Americans. Some courses that cover topics of race or social justice are not considered ethnic studies. While the guidance from the CSU system does allow for cross-listing, cross-listing a course should not happen without participation of faculty from all impacted disciplines. Colleges might reach out to ethnic studies faculty from other colleges or districts if none are currently employed locally to ensure a course is truly an ethnic studies course and then, of course, recommend hiring ethnic studies faculty through shared governance processes. Any pre-existing course that will be newly cross-listed with ethnic studies should be able to be taught by either the original discipline or ethnic studies faculty.

When cross-listed courses are submitted to transfer institutions such as the CSU, including for general education alignment, the reviewers are looking for both areas' requirements before they can be approved. This review is a higher standard if courses are proposed to meet more than one CSU GE requirement. This situation may impact colleges’ submissions for the new CSU Area F requirement.

Impact on Students

Cross-listing is a behind-the-scenes curricular process. Most students do not see or need to understand the process. What students do need to understand is the impact of their choice regarding the specific section for which they sign up. This choice should be made in consultation with their counselors, as it may impact graduation as well as general education and transfer requirements. This concern is particularly important for students in a multi-college district where requirements and articulation agreements may be different. As curriculum is one of the areas in which local student organizations must be consulted under Title 5 §51023.7(b), bringing students into these conversations is also important.

Impact on Data and Workflow

Cross-listing courses can complicate data tracking and analysis. This practice may significantly impact processes such as program review that would divide the student data in those courses between programs, not allowing any group to see the complete picture of the course. Additionally, cross-listing can create workflow and process issues between the college’s curriculum management system, the Chancellor’s Office Curriculum Inventory (COCI), ASSIST, and other systems such as degree audit or student information systems. For example, COCI does not have a method for submission of cross-listed courses, requiring separate course control numbers, while ASSIST requires that cross-listed courses be submitted together.

While the Chancellor’s Office might provide clearer guidance to support colleges in effectively implementing cross-listing, recommendations for local senates include the following:

  • Review current processes on cross-listing.
  • Review current cross-listed courses and identify any unintended consequences for students.
  • Review how cross-listed courses impact student transfer.
  • Weigh the benefits and costs of cross-listing and its potential impact on students, data integrity, and workflow processes.
  • Consider whether other curriculum processes, such as assigning courses to disciplines, may be more appropriate than cross-listing.

Each college has local processes for cross-listing. Local academic senates should take a fresh look at their institutions’ processes and procedures on cross-listing through the lenses of equity and student success.

“¿En que les podemos ayudar?”: Addressing the Non-Credit Needs of a Growing Spanish-speaking Student Body at California’s Community Colleges

Noncredit, Pre-Transfer, & Continuing Education Committee Chair
Noncredit, Pre-Transfer, & Continuing Education Committee
Noncredit, Pre-Transfer, & Continuing Education Committee

California’s community colleges have seen a marked and steady increase in students who identify as Latinx as well as students who are bilingual or for whom Spanish is their first language. While this change is certainly evident on college campuses, data from the California Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office clearly shows the steady increase that started in 2006. The change is a reflection of a similar increase in Spanish-speakers and Latinx in the California workforce and in the number of Latinx entrepreneurs establishing their own businesses. This situation raises important questions regarding how California’s community colleges are adapting to and addressing the needs of this population.

While the Chancellor’s Office does not disaggregate student data based on language, information such as Latinx student enrollment, ESL enrollment, and other relevant data can help to reveal the growth in a Spanish-speaking student population. Data shows a steady increase in Latinx students overall. According to the Chancellor’s Office DataMart, Latinx student enrollment in community colleges has increased from 33.65% of the total student population in 2010 to 45.21% in 2018, an increase of over 200,000 Latinx students in less than ten years. This data alone may not give an accurate representation of the number of students who speak Spanish, since not all Latinx students speak Spanish; however, the picture becomes clearer when this information is analyzed alongside other data. According to Datamart, 22% of non-credit enrollment is for ESL courses, making it the second most enrolled category after elementary and basic skills. Also, the fact that over 25,000 Latinx community college students hold either permanent or temporary residency status shows that the student body is not only becoming more Latinx but more Spanish-speaking as well. In addition, a recent report from the National Immigration Forum pointed out that the “retail sector; adjacent sectors such as manufacturing, transportation and warehousing; and accommodation and food service employ more than 6 million LEP (Limited English Proficient) workers, or approximately 43% of all LEP workers.” (Murray & Negoescu, 2019).

In 2015, Los Angeles Trade Tech College (LATTC), in collaboration with the National Day Laborers Network, offered its first class in Spanish in the construction trade to a small group of immigrants (Marrero, 2016). Thereafter, in Winter 2017, Avanza Los Angeles (ALAS) was founded as an initiative of LATTC to offer noncredit classes in Spanish. As a result of the first construction cohort, LATTC is one of the leading community colleges in Los Angeles to offer noncredit introductory classes in automotive, sewing, construction, electrical, and computer literacy in Spanish to about 200 to 300 Spanish-speaking students each semester. The Spanish courses are coupled with ESL courses that can help students transition to English credit pathways and improve basic skills. The Spanish-speaking program has helped monolingual students petition for noncredit certificates in lube technician, sewing operator, and English as a second language and started to recognize them in 2019 at an end of the year celebration. More recently, a second cohort in Summer 2021 was established utilizing virtual learning. The ALAS 2021 Virtual Ceremony demonstrated that this population can also benefit from the Spanish noncredit programs online despite Covid-19 ramifications.

The Cerritos College Adult Education and Diversity (AED) programs have also managed a sequence of Spanish-speaking courses leading to noncredit certificate attainment. Cerritos College does not mandate a noncredit student to take an ESL class concurrent with the Spanish course but does provide vocational English as a second language classes as support. Some of Cerritos’ most popular courses are language arts, social studies, science, and mathematics classes that are offered in Spanish and allow students to obtain a high school equivalency certificate. One of the innovative strategies that Cerritos College used in its last noncredit approved courses was to add an S to the course outline of record to indicate that the class is taught in Spanish. AED piloted this strategy in Fall 2021 with its new entrepreneurship-small business courses. Small business students are benefiting from these classes by applying the free knowledge and resources provided in the Spanish courses to their businesses. The classes are run in collaboration with theSmall Business Development Center and SCORE, a federally funded organization that provides professional workshops and has helped Spanish-speaking students to further gain confidence in the small business world. In addition, Cerritos College, in collaboration with the General Mexico Consulate in Los Angeles, introduced a free Spanish OSHA-10 certificate focused on basic safety and health information for entry-level workers in construction and general industry.

Student testimonies present the benefits of these noncredit certificates, and some students have even transitioned to pursuing a credit level certificate. For example, Carlos Flores, a student in the construction, maintenance, and utilities electrician pathway, stated, “The ALAS program was where I was introduced to the world of electricity. It motivated me so I decided to take the full credit courses right there in the college to go for a license or certificate as an electrician.” Miriam Vazquez, another ALAS student who is working on her culinary arts certificate, said, “Someone mentioned a program called ALAS where I would not only take English as a Second Language classes but also a Spanish-speaking program. Now I am taking credit classes to become a chef. I am halfway there, which would not have been possible without the ALAS program” (Morales, Mercado, Muñoz, 2019). Similarly for Cerritos College AED, Maria Ramirez explained how the entrepreneurship classes and credential have empowered her business, DMR Property Services. “The OSHA-10 credential was very important, due to the intense work in construction for me and my associates.” Likewise, Agripina Salgado has been inspired to learn how to navigate the CANVAS learning management system by taking a noncredit Spanish course in-person. She stated, “I did not know how to use the computer and since we were online it was very hard. But thanks to this Spanish CANVAS class at Cerritos College, I am learning the basics and I now feel more confident.”

These programs also open career advancement opportunities for LEP individuals. Data from the Migration Policy Institute shows that "more than 1.3 million college-educated immigrants are unemployed or working in unskilled jobs such as dishwashers, security guards, and taxi drivers—representing one of every five highly skilled immigrants in the US labor force. Their work in these jobs constitutes a serious waste of human capital — one that can be addressed by both immigrant admission and immigrant integration policies" (Batalova, & Fix, 2008). According to the Brookings Institution, "working-age LEP adults earn 25 to 40 percent less than their English proficient counterparts” and “access to acquiring these skills is persistently limited by a lack of resources and attention. Increasing investment in adult English instruction—through more funding, targeted outreach, and instructional innovations—would enhance the human capital of immigrants that could lead to more productive work and better outcomes for their children" (Wilson, 2014).

The work being done at colleges such as LATTC and Cerritos College reflects the positive impact of focusing on and engaging Spanish-speaking students and can serve to influence the establishment of similar programs at other community colleges. Research has already pointed to the benefits that such a focus could have on equity efforts, and courses that focus on LEP students will lead to more positive outcomes not just for LEP individuals but also for the state and national economies as a whole. As colleges continue to focus on increasing student success rates and closing racial and ethnic equity gaps, programs such as ALAS and Cerritos AED show that language is an important element in those efforts.


Batalova, J., & Fix, M. (2008). Uneven Progress The Employment Pathways of Skilled Immigrants in the United States. Migration Policy Institute. https://www.migrationpolicy.org/sites/default/files/publications/BrainWasteOct08.pdf.

Marrero, Pilar. (2016, December 28). Trade Tech College en Los Ángeles abre brecha con clases en español para varias carreras. La Opinión. https://laopinion.com/2016/12/28/trade-tech-college-en-los-angeles-abre-brecha-con-clases-en-espanol-para-varias-carreras/?fbclid=IwAR2DuoKtUflnwtpc6z5kyqOSPZWwXoQJYtKIKBG0YtA0QXx_E62Fs3bycT8.

Morales, L., Mercado, Y, & Muñoz, S. (2019). Una visión semestral de Avanza L.A. Los Angeles Trade Technical College.  https://www.lattc.edu/getattachment/Services/Academic/Academic-Connections/ALAS/ALAS-Newsletter/ALAS-Newsletter-PDF.pdf?lang=en-US.

Murray, J, & Negoescu, A. (2019). Upskilling New Americans: Innovative English Training for Career Advancement. National Immigration Forum. https://immigrationforum.org/article/upskilling-new-americans-innovative-english-training-for-career-advancement/.

Wilson, J. (2014). Investing in English Skills: The Limited English Proficient Workforce in U.S. Metropolitan Areas. Brookings Institution. https://www.brookings.edu/research/investing-in-english-skills-the-limi….

Education and Human Development: A Sector in Crisis

Santa Ana College
Skyline College
Cerritos College
College of the Canyons
Cabrillo College
City College of San Francisco

Note: The following article is not an official statement of the Academic Senate for California Community Colleges. The article is intended to engender discussion and consideration by local colleges but should not be seen as the endorsement of any position or practice by the ASCCC.

During the Academic Senate for California Community Colleges Spring 2021 Plenary Session, Resolution 21.02 S21, Prioritizing System Support for the ECE/EDU Education and Human Development Sector [1] was adopted. The resolution was a call to action based on the anticipated confluence of political and fiscal Early Childhood Education/Education support from federal and state sources and a paralyzing workforce shortage in the sector. For ECE/EDU faculty in the California community colleges, the expectation of a historically significant funding expansion at a time of critical teacher shortages and limited capacity for collaboration and innovation due to the COVID-19 pandemic was distressing.

In December 2020, the governor’s Master Plan for Early Learning and Care: California for All Kids was released (Office of Governor Gavin Newsome, 2020). The Master Plan outlined the need for child development services in California, benefits to California’s children, and a proposal for universal transitional kindergarten for all California’s four-year-olds and described the opportunity to build on a $500 million federal investment in COVID childcare relief to create a more equitable and fair child development system in the state. The Build Back Better legislation currently being debated at the federal level includes an expansion of a childcare tax credit and the reduction of childcare costs for families, addressing long-term structural deficits in the system (The White House, 2021). This political and financial support at the state and federal levels is welcome, but critical links must be established between funding and the need to develop a robust workforce of teachers and staff that can implement the visions of universal preschool, create a more equitable and comprehensive educational system, and expand opportunities for children with special needs and diverse home languages. These goals center around the availability of highly educated and well-prepared teachers at all levels.

The ECE/EDU sector provides students with a range of foundational competencies that allow for careers in early childhood, after school, and youth development, as teachers in TK-12 classrooms, and in other school-based settings. Community college students obtain entry level jobs in the sector and often pursue academic goals that provide additional career options.

Childcare and education are infra-structure employment needs, as essential to workers as transportation and the internet. Without reliable childcare and consistent, in-person education, parents—primarily women—left the workforce and college during the COVID pandemic to care for children (Calvan & Rugaber, 2021). The reasons for the migration from the workforce or college classrooms can be attributed to a lack of stable, reliable, and healthy settings for children.

Currently, the California Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office has prioritized ten priority sectors in career technical education, but ECE/EDU is not a stated priority sector. Yet the education and human development sector enrolled 146,716 students at California community colleges in 2018-2019, ranking fifth in enrollment and in degree and certificate completion and directly addressing issues of equity by providing college pathways leading to employment for the highest percentage of female students at 83%, with 67% of students being non-white. This sector also has the second highest percentage of economically disadvantaged students at 78%.

Locally, regional consortia will be further prioritizing sectors and allocating funding based on both historical and anticipated labor market needs. However, while apprenticeships are viewed as the gold standard of CTE training and wage progression, only 6.7% of registered apprentices in California and 12.5% nationally are women (Discover Apprenticeship, 2021), and in non-traditional sectors such as ECE apprenticeships are scarce.

A lack of teachers has suppressed program growth in health care, nursing, information technology, engineering, and other high demand CTE programs and STEM Pathways and has impacted college and dual-enrollment program growth (Carrese & White, 2020). The quality of student learning is heavily reliant on the skills of the teacher. Educational institutions at all levels should prioritize the development of teachers and support students to become teachers in both theory and practice.

California community colleges already play a pivotal role in recruiting, preparing, and supporting over 85% of the ECE center workforce (Karoly, 2012) and 54% of credentialed TK-12 teachers (Carrese & White, 2019), yet community colleges receive no ongoing workforce development funding from private or public employers, the California Department of Education (CDE) and other state and federal government departments, or other partners. Programs across the state are primarily dependent on grant or external funds to provide career-specific student support. The ECE/EDU sector has suffered from financial under-funding and a lack of support at the system level for years.

State-level leadership is needed to create state-wide opportunities to partner with the CDE in implementing transitional kindergarten in California, which is anticipated to create 11,000 new jobs by 2025 (Learning Policy Institute, 2021). Despite being provided by Prop 98, most of the existing teacher recruitment workforce development funds are not open to community colleges to apply for. Historically, teacher recruitment and development funds have been distributed through the CDE to local education associations (LEAs) or districts, post-BA credential programs, and four-year institutions. This omission means that community college students do not have access to the critical supports and services needed to complete sector coursework, obtain degrees, and transfer, and faculty are not at the table when decisions about who becomes a teacher in California are made. Additionally, the California Department of Social Services now oversees a range of childcare programs in the state, and workforce preparation needs to be part of any of their expansion goals.

Without significantly altering recruitment and support practices in teaching at all levels, the current diversity imbalance between California’s teachers and students and equity goals will continue to be unaddressed. Teachers, especially in K-12 settings, do not reflect the diversity and language needs of the children in California’s classrooms. The report Prioritizing Educator Diversity with New State & Federal Funding (Mathews et al, 2021) recommends new state and federal workforce funds be utilized to provide incentives for collaboration between LEAs, districts, community colleges, universities, and teacher education programs to establish a stronger supply of eligible educators of color. Moreover, the community college system needs adequate financial support for the California Early Childhood Mentor Program, ideally through the Chancellor’s Office, so students can complete their fieldwork in diverse community sites (California Early Childhood Mentor Program, 2017). Many ECE programs struggle to find qualified applicants (Gedye, 2021). This shortage also affects TK-12 classrooms (Lambert, 2021), which leads to having educators who are not fully qualified in those classrooms (Gecker, 2021) and ECE programs having to close or limit enrollment (Aguilera, 2021).

The COVID crisis has destabilized the sector, disrupted ECE and TK-12 teacher preparation pipelines, and resulted in significant impacts on working and single parents, especially essential, low to moderate wage displaced workers and families who have suffered from the loss of ECE and after-school childcare (Center for the Study of Child Care Employment , 2020). Serious teacher shortages over the next five years were projected to create over 124,000 openings annually in California for a cluster of twenty teacher occupations including preschool, elementary, secondary, special education, and related occupations prior to COVID (Darling-Hammond, Sutcher, & Carver-Thomas, 2018). The shortfall is now worse.

The work of ECE/EDU programs needs to be prioritized at the state level. The sector needs support for existing communities of practice and professional development models and prioritization due to COVID pandemic destabilization. The work of the ECE/EDU sector encompasses the goals of caring for and educating California’s children and youth, supporting economic recovery by allowing parents and guardians to return to work, providing well-educated and highly skilled teachers in California’s ECE, K-12, and college classrooms and programs, preparing students for college success, and ensuring that subsequent generations can be productive, contributing, and employable.


Aguilera, E. (2021, March 24). Thousands of child care centers shutter, spelling bad news for California. Cal Matters. https://calmatters.org/children-and-youth/2021/03/child-care-centers-cl….

California Early Childhood Mentor Program. (2017). PEACH: An Early Childhood Higher Education Collaborative. The David & Lucille Packard Foundation.https://www.peach4ece.org/copy-of-peach-statements.

Calvan, B.C., & Rugaber, C. (2021). Many women have left the workforce. When will they return? AP News. November 4. https://apnews.com/article/coronavirus-pandemic-business-lifestyle-health-careers-075d3b0ab89baffc5e2b9a80e11dcf34.

Carrese, J. & White, K. (2019, August). Teacher Occupations Bay Region. http://teacherprepprogram.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/01/COE-report-Tea….

Carrese, J. & White, K. (2020, July). Community College & High School Career Technical Education (CTE) Teacher Shortages in the SF Bay Region. https://drive.google.com/file/d/1tGKxzOH-cHORp9eXb3_osC3BjjDgyrfv/view.

Center for the Study of Child Care Employment. (2020, May 7). California Child Care at the Brink: The Devastating Impact of COVID-19 on California Child Care. https://cscce.berkeley.edu/california-child-care-at-the-brink-covid-19/.

Darling-Hammond, L, Sutcher, L. Carver-Thomas, D. (2018, October 15). Teacher Shortages in California: Status, Sources, and Potential Solutions. Learning Policy Institute. https://learningpolicyinstitute.org/product/teacher-shortages-ca-soluti….

Discover Apprenticeship: Women In Apprenticeship. (2021). Apprenticeship.gov. https://www.apprenticeship.gov/sites/default/files/women-in-apprenticeship-fact-sheet_0.pdf.

Gecker, J. (2021, September 22). COVID-19 creates dire US shortage of teachers, school staff. AP News. https://apnews.com/article/business-science-health-education-california….

Gedye, G. (2021, October 29). Child care in California hasn’t rebounded—why many workers aren’t coming back. Cal Matters. https://calmatters.org/economy/2021/10/california-child-care-worker-sho….

Karoly, L. A. (2012). A Golden Opportunity: Advancing California’s Early Care and Education Workforce Professional Development System. Rand Corporation. https://www.issuelab.org/resources/12288/12288.pdf.

Lambert, D. (2021, June 22). California school districts receive unprecedented windfall but lack teachers to help students catch up. EdSource. https://edsource.org/2021/california-school-districts-receive-unprecede….

Learning Policy Institute. (2021). TK-K Teacher Residencies: What This Means for Early Childhood Education. Webinar. https://learningpolicyinstitute.org/event/webinar-tk-k-teacher-residenc….

Mathews, K., Leger, M., Edwards, E.J., Mauerman, C., & Graham, F. (2021). Prioritizing Educator Diversity with New State & Federal Funding. UCLA Center for the Transformation of Schools. https://secureservercdn.net/….

Office of Governor Gavin Newsome. (2020). Governor Newsom Releases the Master Plan for Early Learning and Care: California for All Kids. CA.Gov. https://www.gov.ca.gov/2020/12/01/governor-newsom-releases-the-master-plan-for-early-learning-and-care-california-for-all-kids/.

The White House (2021). Build Back Better Framework. Whitehouse.gov. https://www.whitehouse.gov/briefing-room/statements-releases/2021/10/28/build-back-better-framework/.

[1] Full text of the resolution can be found at https://www.asccc.org/sites/default/files/Resolutions%20Spring%202021%20Adopted%20Resolutions.pdf

Access, Engagement, and Impact: The Hybrid World of ASCCC Events

ASCCC Area A Representative
ASCCC Area A Representative

A lot has changed since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, and much of the work done on behalf of the ASCCC related to teaching and learning has shifted dramatically. Significant adjustments, both personal and professional, have been adapted to and require everyone to think about the opportunities and challenges of the new reality in the hybrid world of work. While at times in-person experiences may be preferred to better achieve intended outcomes, in a new reality faculty can handle many aspects of their roles and responsibilities effectively and efficiently in a virtual environment.

The world of COVID-19 has opened up the opportunity of online professional learning, expanding access for faculty to attend ASCCC events, including fall and spring plenaries. Some faculty are excited about returning to in-person events, while others have expressed varied challenges with the opportunities. In Fall 2021, delegates to the ASCCC plenary session passed Resolution 1.05 F21, resolving, “The Academic Senate for California Community Colleges should make remote attendance an option at all ASCCC-organized events, including plenary sessions.” At the December 2021 ASCCC Executive Committee meeting, three specific areas were identified regarding the effectiveness of future events, which include a commitment to maximizing access, engagement, and impact.

In an effort to meet the needs of all faculty, the ASCCC has been offering events in various modalities, recognizing that no one way will work for everyone throughout the system. Although no virtual or hybrid event can replicate the feelings and experiences of being in person, the ASCCC is committed to providing faculty high quality professional development and learning opportunities that are accessible, engaging, and impactful.


For the more than fifty years of the ASCCC and pre COVID-19, the majority of academic senate leaders and delegates were able to attend in-person ASCCC events. Attendance depended on cost and local budgets, support from administrators, travel accommodations, distance, and impact on teaching and learning as well as personal life obligations. With these various dynamics, inevitably no one event was accessible to everyone, although the hope was that at least one faculty member of each college could attend. The reality of attending in-person does come with potential impacts or consequences, including impacts to regular roles and responsibilities such as missing a class or sacrificing personal obligations.

Hybrid and virtual options have opened access to ASCCC events for faculty who were not physically able to attend or choose not to attend in-person due to other circumstances. Other faculty members are clamoring for in-person options, looking for the energy, networking, and hallway conversations that are not able to be replicated in a virtual environment. Through ASCCC event surveys and regular dialogue around the impacts of the changing modalities of our events, the Executive Committee has determined that a hybrid model provides the most access to meet the needs of the faculty.


The ASCCC is committed to creating equitable opportunities for engagement among colleagues. The ASCCC mission, as stated on our website, is as follows: “As the official voice of California community college faculty in academic and professional matters, the Academic Senate for California Community Colleges (ASCCC) is committed to equity, student learning and student success.” ASCCC events are the primary way the organization supports faculty so they are able to make an impact at both the state and local levels as pertaining to academic and professional matters. The information that is learned and shared at events makes an impact on local academic senates, faculty, and students.

In order to provide the valuable experience that the ASCCC intends, the organization makes an ongoing and concerted attempt to present events where faculty can choose how they engage. However, this goal impacts the cost of ASCCC events. Some individuals might insist that since they are not attending in-person and are not provided meals and swag, they should be charged a lower cost. Those who attend an event in-person may insist that they should not have to pay for the extra technology or staffing needed for online accessibility. While this situation is an overarching predicament, the ASCCC will continue to dialogue and debate the fee structure in order to provide the most access, engagement, and impact, taking everything into consideration to cover the cost of the event however individuals choose to attend. For the 2022 Spring Plenary, the ASCCC is experimenting with a single cost structure for all attendees. This model ensures that all attendees pay the same price regardless of how they choose to attend the event.

The ASCCC is a non-profit organization and determines the cost to participants in order to cover expenses, not to make a profit when addressing the professional learning needs of faculty. In fact, the ASCCC will often take a loss, sometimes significant, in order to provide faculty the resources and tools at events that ultimately support student success. In taking all of these components into consideration, the goal of the ASCCC is to be transparent in how we determine costs so we can empower each individual faculty member to decide how each wants to engage in ASCCC events.


Providing access and engagement to all does come at a cost, both to individuals and the ASCCC organization. The fiscal cost is substantial due to the fact that the ASCCC is focused on equitable and enhanced engagement through a virtual environment. Creating a hybrid event is not as easy as just adding an extra laptop or using a cell phone to record. The ASCCC is committed to ensuring that all faculty who attend have the opportunity to engage and interact with the presenter and other attendees, although inevitable nuances and issues arise that complicate offering an ideal experience. The ASCCC must cover costs for additional staffing requirements and the platform in order to conduct the event as well as two-way interactive technology for general sessions, breakouts, debate, and voting. Costs for access to technology for full engagement by attendees and enhanced internet can range from $50,000 to $83,000 more than the traditional costs of events.

Other impacts the ASCCC intends to be mindful of when conducting events are the additional costs related to the personal sacrifices when away from normal life routines and obligations, the cost to sustainability and environmental impact, and the need for self-care when faced with a determination of choices that vary and are widely distinct based on the realities of individual lives. For some, the impact of the pandemic has changed, strengthened, or confused one’s determination on what is efficient and effective for each faculty member to represent the faculty voice as well as learn and develop as a leader.

Whether one chooses to attend an ASCCC event in person, virtually, or in a hybrid format, one can expect intentional efforts to provide accessible formats, engaging presentations, impactful conversations and chats, and the collective empowerment, leadership, and voice of faculty joined together.